Here is an important fact: No team in NFL history ever had two $100-million players under contract in the same season. It is very difficult to manage a successful, 53-man roster when two players are eating up such a large chunk of the salary cap.
But can the Miami Dolphins be the first team to accomplish that feat? It's possible if Miami continues to push forward with discussions of a long-term extension this offseason with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins reached an agreement over the weekend with free agent and Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh that will pay him $114 million over six years. Miami will make Suh the NFL's highest-paid defensive player, surpassing J.J. Watt ($100 million) of the Houston Texans, and my take is he's worth every penny.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen, Suh is guaranteed $60 million over the first three years, which makes you wonder if it's possible to also work out a second large extension this offseason for Tannehill. The 2012 first-round pick is coming off a career season where he threw for 4,045 yards, 27 touchdowns and had a 92.8 passer rating.
A multiyear extension should get Tannehill in the range of $100 million. Recent free-agent quarterbacks such as Andy Dalton, Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick all recently received contracts exceeding $100 million. Tannehill's numbers were comparable -- and in some cases better -- than his three counterparts.
Having both Suh and Tannehill under contract for more than $200 million combined would not leave much wiggle room for the Dolphins to spend big on other parts of their roster. But these are Miami's two franchise building blocks on defense and offense.
The Dolphins also have the choice of using their fifth-year option if they want to reserve cap room this year. The option would keep Tannehill's salary at just $2.117 million for 2014, which is extremely modest for his production at the NFL's glamour position. But Tannehill's salary would balloon to $15 million in 2015 under the fifth-year option.
Miami would like to give Tannehill a well-deserved raise this year. But the team may have to get creative now that Suh's mega-contract is on its books.